The Lions host the Chicago Bears this Thanksgiving at Ford Field. It is the second and final matchup between the two NFC North teams this season. The Lions are looking for a bounce-back performance against the Bears after falling, 34-22, at Soldier Field on November 11.
Detroit was impressive on the defensive side of the ball against the Carolina Panthers during Week 10. However, if the Lions want to avoid a series sweep against the Bears, they will need to fire on all cylinders.
Offensively, star quarterback Matthew Stafford is going to have a lot on his plate against a talented Bears defense. Stafford will be without receiver Marvin Jones and running back Kerryon Johnson. However, throughout his entire career, Stafford has been able to make other players shine offensively which highlights Kenny Golladay as the ultimate target tomorrow. Stafford has a strong build and has proven his durability taking shot after shot. Nonetheless, his ability to throw the ball in tight coverage has been an impressive aspect throughout his entire career.
Defensively, second-year linebacker Jarrad Davis is someone to keep an eye on against Chicago. Against Carolina, Davis recorded six tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. However, those numbers are just the beginning and Davis has 63 tackles and four sacks currently on the season. Davis is a young player with excellent play recognition and has a true knack for finding the ball. Davis can often find himself in the backfield, often resulting in a sack for a tackle for loss.
This week’s dark horse will be a little different as I think the OnePride fanbase will make a huge difference. Lions fans attending a game at Ford Field have been electric all season long, even if the season hasn’t been what people were expecting. Each week the stadium roars with excitement whether it is after a touchdown or after an impressive stop on defense. A loud home fanbase will be a key component a Thanksgiving victory at Ford Field. Regardless of the outcome the fans constantly are heard signing Gridiron Heroes — a song many Lions fans are familiar with after every touchdown.
Offensively, wide receiver Allen Robinson could be a serious threat against a weak Lions secondary. Robinson had six receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns against a Lions secondary without Darius Slay. Plus, Robinson has proven throughout his career to be a threat not only in the slot but downfield as well. He has excellent hands and is a true threat on a talented offense, even though the Bears could be without quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Defensively, Khalil Mack has dominated for Chicago since demanding a trade out of Oakland. Mack gets double-teamed on countless plays, but still manages to find his way to the ball. Whether Mack is recording a sack or forcing a fumble, he finds a way to impact the game.
The Thanksgiving dark horse will be Bears running back Jordan Howard. The Lions have had problems against the run all season and Howard is a true threat in the backfield. Howard has excellent acceleration and burst speed which is lethal in open-field situations. The Bears have a strong run game and with Howard and Cohen in the backfield, things could get dangerous against Detroit. Howard, on the other hand, is intriguing because of his ability to make small yardage plays bigger by continuously churning his feet to gain a couple extra yards.